Sisyphus Brewing is a 3 year old brewery located right across the street from The Walker Art Museum’s Sculpture Garden and in close proximity to Downtown Minneapolis and Loring Park. Named after the Greek Legend Sisyphus – the brewery aims to take happiness from the seemingly endless task of brewing beer for the thirsty masses. As they say in their website;
“Now that you’ve hopefully contemplated the meaninglessness of your existence, and mine, and everyone’s for that matter… how about another beer? We’d be more than happy to get you one. One need not imagine us, or Sisyphus, happy.”
Fruitlessly pushing a rock up a hill seemed an apt metaphor for parenting, so it was as good a choice as any for our first review.
712 Ontario Avenue W. #100
Minneapolis, MN 55403
***It should be noted that this is only 2 of the 3 reviewers.
Beer (Variety, Self Brew/Local, Taste)
DHM: It looks like they have a fair complement of beers available. 6 on tap when we visited, 7 had everything been in stock. Quick positives; Flights. If you’re a brewery you better have these. A tasty Black Ale w/ Coffee. To be fair – you need to be careful with any beer + coffee. Sisyphus does a great job. 3 of 5.
IDK: They had a reasonable variety for a small brewery, and there were enough different styles to satisfy people who like many different kinds of beers. I had a flight of these 4 beers, in order from most successful to least:
- Todd the Fax Man, a Citra/Mosaic wheat IPA (4 out of 5)–this had all the tropical/fruity/citrusy hoppiness that you’d expect from these two super trendy varieties, along with just a little bit of smooth malt character, bitterness that was anything but harsh, and a pleasant tropical/citrus aroma. These hops are popular for a reason.
- Belgian Blonde (3.5)–a clean, extremely refreshing blonde with just enough fruity Belgian yeast character to keep it interesting.
- The Juice is Loose, a double IPA (3.5)–not bad, but a little disappointing. Flavor was nice, if a bit too sweet, but it lacked the intense hop aroma I’d expect in a double IPA.
- Ella Nelson, an India Pale Lager with Ella and Nelson Sauvin hops (3)–I’m a fan of the hoppy lager trend, but this didn’t do it for me. Too cloudy for a lager. I’d never heard of the Ella hop, but I was expecting some white wine fruitiness from the Nelson–instead, the hop profile was more grassy/resiny.
Overall beer score: 3.5 of 5.
Aggregate: 3.25 of 5
Environment (Noise, Service, General Ambiance)
DHM: We showed up around 4 on a Sunday afternoon. Sisyphus has a pretty standard taproom. Noisy enough that you couldn’t hear the babes fuss, but we could all still hear each other talk. Pay at the bar was nice. 3.5 of 5.
IDK: It’s a nice, albeit small taproom. Service was friendly and efficient–no waiting to get our drinks. Chairs were abundant, but not very comfortable. Ambience was low-key, but not library-quiet, which is perfect. Parking is on-street only, but we didn’t have any problems finding a spot next to the building. 4 of 5.
DJB: When I walked in the door with baby Julia, the people sitting at the bar turned and looked at us (in a way vaguely reminiscent of walking into a bar in an old Western movie), which made me concerned that we would be seen as an irritant. I shouldn’t have worried though because Julia and the other babies couldn’t really be heard over the sound of the shuffleboard being played in the room. It wasn’t so loud that we couldn’t hear ourselves talk at our table, so the noise level was just right. However, the room looked somewhat industrial with concrete floors and white walls, and felt a little stark on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. 3.5 of 5.
Aggregate: 3.67 of 5
Kid Friendly-ness (Menus, Area, Stroller Friendly)
DHM: Concrete warehouse style. High and low tables and a sizable bar. Plenty of room for the stroller, and even a ramp in from outside. Oh! And shuffleboard. We didn’t play – but I give that a plus. No food, but I’m assuming it has regular food trucks during “standard” drinking hours. We didn’t get any awkward looks when we walked in – so that’s good. 4 of 5
IDK: I don’t think there would be room for the strollers at busier times, but we had plenty of space while we were there. No one seemed to mind the presence of our infants, and there were some older kids there with family who seemed happy. The shuffleboard would have been a fun diversion if there had been enough of us to take turns watching the kids, but we did not partake. 3.5 of 5.
DJB: As I mentioned, the noise level was just right (loud enough to prevent the babies from annoying others, not so loud that we couldn’t hear ourselves talk), and there were other families with older kids playing shuffleboard. On the Sunday afternoon we visited though, only one bartender was working, which made for a somewhat lengthy wait to order, all the while holding Julia. 3.5 of 5.
Aggregate: 3.67 of 5
Facilities (Changing tables in bathrooms, kid “area”)
DHM: One of the big things I look at when I go out as a dad – is a changing tables available in the Men’s room. At very least a changing table in a unisex bathroom. Unfortunately – this had neither. We were able to traverse the bar well enough – but I’d love to see some baby friendly facilities. 2.5 out of 5
IDK: The lack of a changing table was a disappointment, especially since they had a unisex bathroom in addition to the men’s and women’s rooms–that’s the perfect place to put one, since it allows privacy during changing and only requires the purchase of one table. We were fortunate that none of the kiddos required a change while we were there. No high chairs, either, which are nice for older babies–drinking with a wiggly kid on your lap can be a challenge, especially when said kid starts getting grabby. 1 of 5.
DJB: The fact that there is no changing table in the men’s room would be enough to cause me to avoid going here in the future. Julia is 13 months old now and we’ve had some incredibly squirrely and tense (for me) diaper changes in places without changing tables. Probably the worst one was on an Amtrak train between Detroit and Chicago with no changing tables anywhere, which led to a change on a pair of coach seats that came uncomfortably close to turning into a poopy and smelly mess for everyone nearby. Providing a changing table in the bathroom is much better than the possible alternative scenarios. 1 of 5.
Aggregate: 1.5 of 5
DHM: Well – I drink – but from what I understand – no Coke products. I appreciate the different locally made sodas, but I didn’t try them. I can’t speak to the other options unfortunately. NA
IDK: They had several flavors of fancy sodas, but I stuck with beer. NA
DJB: I was in the mood for Coke rather than beer, and was consequently a little dismayed to find out they didn’t carry Coke or Pepsi products. There was an artisanal “cola” available, but after having bad experiences with these in the past at other places (they tend to taste like overpriced Diet Coke in my opinion), I opted for a root beer, which was perfectly fine. 3 of 5.
Aggregate: 3 of 5
PatP Final Say:
Good, but not great. Plenty of potential. Location is nice for strolls through Loring or the Sculpture Garden pre-or-post brewery. If they added a changing table – they could seriously get a big leg up.
FINAL SCORE: 3.02 of 5